Lots of questions about Omar Minaya and Grady Fuson rolling in. Derek will have more on Minaya, so I’ll make it brief, but we’re not fans of his. Fuson is still in line to take over the GM job in Texas after this coming season. John Hart has one more year left on his contract, and then will become a consultant with Fuson hand-picked to take the job. I think Fuson is going to make an excellent GM, but I don’t see him wanting to come here, or Texas offering to let him out of his contract.
Also, let me reiterate Derek’s point about Beane being totally unrealistic. The Red Sox gig is a far better one than the Mariners gig, and he stayed in Oakland last year. I’d be stunned if he even had any interest in coming here.
And hey, the Arizona Fall League kicked off yesterday. Follow all the fun as Matt Thornton gets beat like he stole something. God bless the AFL and their wacky stats. Jaime Bubela just might hit .450, but he still won’t be a prospect.
Hey, lot of email about Beane as a possible GM, following Larry Stone (“Official Seattle Baseball Print Writer of the U.S.S. Mariner Even Though He Sometimes Does Stuff Like Repeat the Mariners Lie About the $92 Million Payroll”) suggesting it in the Seattle Times (“Paper of Quality”).
Not going to happen and, I don’t really want it to happen. I’d rather have either of the two candidates we’ve discussed already, Kim Ng (endorsed by me) or Chris Antonetti (endorsed by Dave) (which is not to say our endorsements are mutually exclusive, as I like Antonetti too), than Beane (and as a side note: I was entirely serious about taking suggestions about possible GMs. If you’re curious about a name, drop us a line).
Beane’s one of the best GMs in baseball, and he’s massively overrated at the same time. He’s smart and personable and I really like him, but he’s not without flaws. Beane’s a guy who can see the value in picking up the Scott Hattebergs and taking a flyer on them, but when he gets attached to these guys, he doesn’t think “Hey, I found one of these guys in a pile for $.99, I can just go buy another one,” he spends a ton of money on the one he knows and likes. He’s into the numbers, but if the numbers don’t tell him a guy he likes is good as he thinks, he ignores the numbers. He doesn’t get along with a bunch of other GMs. I think his dedication to overthrowing the system has gone too far, and I agree with Dave that there’s a time to draft high school players (carefully, with caveats we’ve talked about elsewhere here), but Beane’s out to not only win, but to make a point while winning.
None of that is really important — Beane’s still one of the best. The deal-breaker is that I don’t think he’d get along at all with the ownership and particularly Lincoln (Larry Stone touches on this in his piece). Steve Schott’s a Scrooge McDuck owner, but he says “Beane! Run this thing with a payroll of $1” and pretty much leaves him alone, and if Beane can convince him there’s a good money-saving move that costs more now (even if this move is dumb), Schott will assent. The kind of problems our last two GMs have had (“I want to trade x for y, and it’s under your payroll constraints.” Long pause. “No.”) would drive Beane insane.
Which brings up another point. If you’ve read Thiel’s book on the M’s, or (and) followed the team for a while, you know that Lincoln’s got to go, and this team needs to hire someone to run the baseball team and let them do their thing: screw up, succeed, but have the freedom to make the moves that their talents and experience tells them to make. Certainly the M’s ownership is going to have some say in these things: the Japanese connection, for instance, means it makes perfect sense for someone to come in and say “You’re authorized to spend whatever you have to to get Matsui” and there’s always the occasional “Al Martin’s not the kind of guy we want on the team” standard ownership has every right to impose… but the team’s ownership, if they’re going to be ruthless profiteers, should at least set the conditions for operation and then let the right people do their jobs.
Kim Ng for GM.
My newest column on Baseball Prospectus is about Edgar’s last day. Check it out. (Kim Ng for GM!)
One of my favorite candidates who likely won’t be considered is Kim Ng. Ng (say ‘Ang’, the name’s Chinese) was the Assistant GM for the Yankees a couple years ago and is now the Assistant General Manager for the Dodgers. She’s 34, which isn’t as young as DePodesta but probably too young for the Mariners. She’s huge on the contracts and negotiations, she did something in MLB offices for a while before the Yankees hired her and knows stuff like the waiver rules and related trickery cold. The’s supposedly a math/stats “genius” though I’m not sure what that entails, exactly.
B of A, Public Policy, University of Chicago
White Sox: 90, started as an intern in contract and arbitration, 91 promoted to “Special Projects Analyst”. 95, Assistant Director of Baseball Operations
MLB: 97-98 Director of Waivers and Player Records
Yankees: 98-01, Assistant General Manager
left the Yankees, chilled, then–
Dodgers: Assistant General Manager
We complain about Gillick spending his budget wisely, and Dave cites this as a good reason to pursue Chris Antonetti. In addition to the other stuff, Ng’s supposedly huge on figuring out player value and where they belong in the market. Brian Cashman loves her. She beat Scott Boras in an arbitration hearing, which is almost unheard of.
“Baseball executive in US breaks mold,” Taipei Times 5/12/2002 (includes this photo)
“GM: A distaff position?” Boston Globe, 8/31/2003
… and many others. She seems good-natured about being featured in a lot of these dumb articles.
Only real problem, she grew up in New Jersey as a Yankee fan. Actually, it’s that she doesn’t have the kind of scouting background someone like, say, Dave, would want to see. And to that, I’d say: pah. As if the M’s don’t need scouting expertise at the top, they need someone who can put together a bad-ass roster, and she can do that.
Kim Ng is my number one choice. It’s a gutsy, sharp move, which means the M’s won’t even think about it. She’s way smarter than Gillick, she’s worked with M’s-style budgets, we’re after Matsui, she’s handled large contract negotiations for foreign players, she’s a geek about exactly the stuff Gillick sucks at and have crippled the team the last couple of years.